Naturi Naughton and Joseph Sikora (Photo: Starz)

The title “It’s Never Over” refers to Tasha’s conversation with Tariq and Raina, who are understandably in a state of shock over the abrupt dissolution of their family unit. Ghost and Tasha are now officially living separately, an arrangement that takes shape so quickly, I found it jarring as a viewer. God knows how Tarik and Raina must feel, considering their parents’ split is happening as two major presences in their lives—Tommy and Shawn—have been torn away from them for reasons outside their control. For the children, it seems like everything is falling apart, and Tasha has to convince them that nothing will tear their family asunder, even when she’s clearly needs convincing herself. Every relationship in Power has changed, and the show’s universe has gone topsy-turvy.

Tasha’s speech is as necessary for the audience as it is for the kids, since it’s starting to feel like Power is spinning out of control as it charts its course back from its incredibly dense season finale. There’s the slight hint that the show’s narrative has become unwieldy (there are over a dozen regular cast members now.) But showrunner Courtney A. Kemp has shown time and again that, like her chessmaster protagonist, she always has a grand design in mind. That said, while I have yet to lose faith in Power, these first couple of episodes have been slightly awkward. I want the show to get to where it’s going faster, but I also wince at some of the shortcuts it takes to get there. First, there was Angela’s decision to tell Ghost that Lobos is still alive, which makes sense since she wants to keep him alive and all. But it’s hard to believe that Angela’s access to information hasn’t been severely curtailed. And do federal prosecutors seriously just leave important case files in an open cabinet everyone has access to? It’s all a little bit pat for my taste.

The same goes for Angela’s first time meeting the kids, which…wow, that came together really, really quickly. I’d have liked to see a bit more of the rocky transition as Ghost moves into his new life and his new space. And as proud as Tasha is, it seems like she would want to put up more of a fight to keep her kids away from Angela considering the threat she once posed (and still poses) to her family and way of life. Instead, Tasha chooses to shade Angela in person during a home visit, then urge the kids to spend time with their future stepmother and be on their best behavior. I get that with so many balls in the air and only 10 episodes in which to juggle them, story beats that should probably take longer to roll out will be compressed, even to the point of straining incredulity. I’m doing now the same thing I did with last season, which is being patient until the plot starts falling into place. The waiting is the hardest part.

The difference between season two and season three, right now, is that the first part of season two found Ghost dealing with active, imminent threats. Pink Sneakers had just taken a shot at him, while Tommy was trying to decide on killing Angela, and Angela was perilously close to uncovering his true identity. The rhythm is different now, with Ghost having eliminated, or at least temporarily neutralized, his biggest enemies. Granted, Lobos is still pulling Tommy’s strings (not to mention Sandoval’s), there’s a new pair of smug rival club owners antagonizing, and that bloody calling card still hasn’t been traced to a source. But Ghost is more out of the game than in it, and as long as he looks like he’s winning, all things considered, Power won’t have quite the same urgency as when Ghost is backed into a corner.

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But there’s still plenty to chew on in the meantime, including the drastically different management styles of Ghost and Tommy. If any character is embattled right now, it’s Tommy, who’s struggling to negotiate the transfer of power from the Ghost regime. He’s feeling stressed out and insecure about his new role, and he struggles to keep his clients fully stocked with product even as the Lobos threat looms. I’m much more interested in how Tommy deals with his new role than I am with his quest to kill Ghost, which appears to gain more traction after he’s urged to pull the trigger by Holly, his Oedipal manic pixie dream girl. When Ghost and Tommy were a team, they were technically equals, but it was always clear who was really calling the shots. Tommy, who remains as hotheaded as ever, couldn’t be trusted to make decisions on his own, so now he’s in a position where he literally has to fly or die. I want to see more of that story play out, but it’s being crowded out by all the drama around Tommy’s failed attempts to kill his former mentor, partner, and brother.

Meanwhile, most of Ghost’s issues are domestic, especially now that he knows that Lobos is still kicking and can try to take him out again. His biggest conflict is with the club owners from across the street who outbid him for the services of the eminently douchey DJ Taj. It’s the calm before the storm, and Ghost seems to know it on some level, but some patience might be required while the storm rolls in.

Stray observations

  • I’ve compared Power to Breaking Bad quite a bit, but it was even more on display in this episode, as Tasha appears to be taking on a Skyler-like dirty accountant role for Tommy, while Proctor goes from being his lawyer to being his consigliere.
  • Again, I can’t understand why Lobos couldn’t just have someone else kill Ghost. Can’t be that difficult, seeing as Ghost is apparently prone to standing in wide open public spaces with his eyes closed and his back turned.
  • Holly is back to being the absolute worst. That said, her understanding and calm response to Tommy’s confession is very sweet.
  • Who is Cooper Saxe again? I feel like I don’t know much if anything about how Angela’s job works or who does what in this organizational structure.
  • Also, for what it’s worth, Sandoval is being blackmailed into working for Lobos.
  • The Tasha home alone montage was pretty sad. I want her to get another love interest this season.
  • Yo, Tariq is enormous now. Talk about a growth spurt.

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